May 15, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez (55) checks his mask after being struck in the face against the San Francisco Giants during the seventh inning at AT

MLB Trade Rumors: Mets Interested in Ramon Hernandez

This isn’t exactly the right-handed power bat Mets players and fans were hoping to hear about, but it’s a start. It has been reported that New York GM Sandy Alderson does have some interest in Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin and there are scouts following him over the last week or two. It seems as though it will take a couple of prospects to peel him away from San Diego. Meanwhile, the Mets front office has been inquiring about currently injured catcher Ramon Hernandez.

The struggles of Mike Nickeas (.172/.250/.237) as the Mets’ backup catcher are likely prompting Sandy’s interest in Hernandez (.215/.260/.398), and although his numbers aren’t eye-popping, he can provide some power from the right side of the plate that Nickeas can’t. This deal has no doubt looked enticing to Alderson because he feels he wouldn’t have to part with any of his top minor league prospects, likely having to part with a player like Matt Den Dekker, Wilfredo Tovar, Domingo Tapia, or Josh Edgin. Hernandez, who is in the first season of a two-year/$6.4 million contract, has lost his starting spot to Wilin Rosario (.247/.279/.521) and the Mets feel that the Rockies willingness to part with Hernandez is a salary dump.

Colorado tried to acquire utility infielder Justin Turner from the Mets last season, and only signed Marco Scutaroafter their

attempts for Turner were unsuccessful. While Hernandez is currently on a rehab assignment, the Mets were interested in adding him to their roster shortly after he returns from the disabled list, but the Rockies’ asking price for the now backup catcher is still steep, and since the Mets aren’t willing to offer the players Colorado wants in return.

I agree with Alderson’s position in these negotiations; he’s not only targeting Hernandez because he could potentially fill a need that the Mets desperately need (a right-handed bat) and also try to include left-handed reliever, Matt Reynolds (3-0, 3.38 ERA in 37.1 innings in ’12). However, there is no way that the Mets should bite the bullet to acquire Hernandez, a 36-year-old catcher who will not be playing everyday, especially when they’ll be on the hook for his contract the rest of this season, as well as next season.

This is a classic case of the Rockies trying to have their cake and eat it too. Colorado was supposed to be competing for the NL West title this year, but have found themselves limping into the All-Star break with a 33-52 record, 13 games out of first and in a last place tie with the San Diego Padres. They should be thankful to have an opportunity to dump Hernandez’s salary and get some prospects in return. However, there is still plenty of time before the trade deadline, and the Mets aren’t expected to make any moves until the end of the month, allowing time for these steep asking price to come down to their level.

Are there any other right-handed hitting catchers the Mets are interested in if they aren’t able to work something out with the Rockies? Rumors are saying that Alderson is also interested in Kelly Shoppach of the Red Sox and Miguel Olivo of the Mariners. So, New York has a few options to explore outside of Ramon Hernandez, even though it’s clear they like the Rockies backstop the most.

Tags: Colorado Rockies Justin Turner Kelly Shoppach Matt Musico Matt Reynolds Mets Trade Rumors Miguel Olivo MLB Trade Rumors New York Mets Ramon Hernandez Rising Apple Sandy Alderson

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